BalletX, Philadelphia’s premier contemporary ballet company, presents Summer Series 2018 at The Wilma Theater, July 11-22. The company, led by Artistic & Executive Director Christine Cox, will perform three world premieres by award-winning choreographers Penny Saunders, Matthew Neenan, and Andrew McNicol (2018 Choreographic Fellow). The season finale program features original music by Rosie Langabeer and classical selections by Mozart and Mendelssohn, as well as lighting design by Michael Korsch, and costume design by Martha Chamberlain, Reid & Harriet Design, and Marc Eric.
“There’s a real collaborative spirit behind Summer Series,” says Cox. “Penny and Rosie are creating a work interweaving sound and live musicians into the dance’s narrative, and Matthew is mentoring Andrew as they both delve into the music of two classical masters.”
Penny Saunders and Rosie Langabeer’s world premiere collaboration blends found sound, haunting melody, and live music to explore transience and permanence, destiny and free will. The Arts Fuse describes Saunders choreography as “wonderfully complex.” She won the 2016 Princess Grace Choreographic Fellowship and has created on Hubbard Street Dance, Whim W’him, and Grand Rapids Ballet. Langabeer is a Barrymore Award winner for Outstanding Music and Musical Direction and co-created Matthew Neenan’s Sunset, o639 Hours (2014). Her music has been called “evocative” by The New York Times and “atmospheric with great humor” by The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Matthew Neenan’s new work is set to Mendelssohn’s Songs without Words, performed live by Martha Koeneman (Principal Pianist, Pennsylvania Ballet). The piece introduces a mysterious prop puzzle, which the choreographer and dancers solve together on stage, opening the piece to metaphoric possibilities beyond what meets the eye, and examining our perceptions of stillness and movement, object and person, conflict and resolution. Neenan co-founded BalletX with Cox and has created many of the company’s signature works, including The Last Glass (2010) and Sunset, o639 Hours (2014). His choreography is “fresh, touching, musical, original… He makes dancers look appealing, and he engages audiences,” wrote The New York Times.
Andrew McNicol’s lifelong love of Mozart’s Requiem and his fascination with the energy, physicality and fast pace of American dance form the underlying inspiration for his world premiere with BalletX. Chosen from a competitive pool of international applicants, he serves as the 2018 Choreographic Fellow under mentor Matthew Neenan. McNicol has created work for The London Olympics, The New York Choreographic Institute, and The Royal Ballet of Flanders. He is described as “talented beyond his years” by Ballet News.
The Choreographic Fellowship is made possible by generous support from David Haas and Wyncote Foundation.
The 12-performance Summer Series also invites audiences deeper into the world of contemporary ballet through two signature X-Process events: a pre-show Conversations with the Artists on opening night and a post-show Q&A on July 12. BalletX will host Young Xers Night, a pre-show cocktail reception and after party for young dance lovers and professionals, on July 19.
Tickets to BalletX Summer Series 2018 are available online at https://www.balletx.org/summer-series-2018/, by phone at 215-546-7824, and in person at The Wilma Theater Box Office, 265 S. Broad Street.